Amish made hardwood

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 Post subject: Planning DIY Hardwood Install
PostPosted: Sun Mar 17, 2019 9:54 pm 
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Hi all!

I'm planning to start installing ~1100sqft of this beautiful 4" wide curly maple (photos) in my home sometime in April. I've never installed any type of flooring before but I'm very much willing to take my time and learn what I need to know up front in order to be successful.

Floorplan

Ultimately, I plan to install this flooring in all the areas highlighted in blue: Dining Room, Living Room, Hallway, Both Guest Rooms and the Master Bedroom.

Originally I had hoped to start in a currently unused guest room (Guest Room 1) that has already been stripped to bare subfloor... but the more research I do the more I'm questioning if it's actually possible for me to start in that room without causing myself issues down the line.

Any thoughts on where I would ideally start and how bad of an idea it would be to start in that guest room instead?

PS: The subfloor throughout the house is 5/8" plywood with 2x10 joists 12" on center.


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Amish made hardwood

 Post subject: Re: Planning DIY Hardwood Install
PostPosted: Mon Mar 18, 2019 10:45 am 
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You can start in the Guest bedroom. But, you should do all your planning and layout/measuring work before you start the installation. Also, have you read up on acclimation and subfloor prep (for a squeak free finished floor)? Do you have all the necessary tools? Have you decided on how you will handle the door thresholds? Doing the install yourself is very doable with the right knowledge and tools. If you haven't done so it might be a good idea to read a good book on the subject. An excellent book on the subject is by Charles Petersen. Don Bollinger's book is good too. Flooring nailers will run between $100 and $700+. The $99 Harbor Freight tool is a diamond in the rough. You can also buy a midrange model and sell it when you are done with it. Hardwood flooring is a one-and-done project so do all your home work up front and realize that the planning and prep can take longer than the actual install.


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 Post subject: Re: Planning DIY Hardwood Install
PostPosted: Mon Mar 18, 2019 11:40 am 
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Thanks for the recommendation on Charles Petersen's book -- it looks excellent and I've just ordered a copy.

Quote:
have you read up on acclimation and subfloor prep (for a squeak free finished floor)?

I have read up the subfloor prep and acclimation. I'm planning to let the wood acclimate for two weeks at minimum and check moisture content of both the subfloor and the flooring before kicking things off. I'm also very much looking forward to eliminating a couple existing creaks in the subfloor so I'll definitely be taking my time there. :D

Quote:
Have you decided on how you will handle the door thresholds?

I've not fully worked out how I will be handling all my thresholds (actually part of why I ended up joining this community), and I'm hoping the book which you recommended will also give me some solid guidance there. One thing I should note is that I'll need to plan ahead for some transitions that will not be 'permanent'.

For example:
- the existing carpet in the master bathroom (yuck!) will eventually be replaced with tile
- the existing laminate, tile and slate which are in the laundry room, foyer and kitchen respectively will all be replaced with tile

I know with all of this I will need to be very careful in planning ahead to end up with the correct flooring heights across the entire level. For example, additional subfloor was at some point added to the laundry room as the bare plywood is currently level with the kitchen tile.

Quote:
Do you have all the necessary tools?

As far as tools, I've started my research but have not settled on what I will be purchasing. The HF flooring nailer is definitely on my list of options to consider. Obviously some of the more specialized tools I'll need for finishing will need to be rentals.

Quote:
You can start in the Guest bedroom. But, you should do all your planning and layout/measuring work before you start the installation.

I'm sure Charles Petersen's book will give me the information I need on this topic, but in the meantime I'd like to start planning.

If I were tackling this all in one go, I think I'd start with snapping a chalk line from the wall between the living room / dining room all the way to the wall at the far end of the hallway (notice there's a slight offset between the wall of the hallway and the wall of the living room that would make this possible).

Ideally I'd like to avoid using t molding at the bedroom doors, but I'm not sure how I could avoid that if I'm starting in "Guest Bedroom 1". Thoughts?


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 Post subject: Re: Planning DIY Hardwood Install
PostPosted: Mon Mar 18, 2019 5:05 pm 
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Yes, a baseline down the center of the hall. Measure toward the outer walls and adjust as necessary so that don't end up with any narrow strips as you go through the doorways. Draw right triangles to keep things square. If you look down on your floorplan it should look square/parallel. You can flow the flooring through the doorways that will have hardwood flooring on both sides. T moldings or reducers or saddles in doorways that have hardwood on one side and tile (or something else) on the other side. With the right tools you can make your own transitions from your hardwood. Height difference(s) will determine what to use for the transition(s).
Doing the baselines with the carpeting still down won't be particularly easy. Something that would help would be a laser measuring tool that would let you get exact measurements off the walls. That along with a detailed diagram would let you do it on paper.


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 Post subject: Re: Planning DIY Hardwood Install
PostPosted: Tue Apr 02, 2019 7:42 pm 
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Thanks again for the recommendations. I've since read Charle's Peterson's book cover to cover (admittedly skipping the sections on ornate layouts) and began purchasing some tools including a nice quiet air compressor, the 'Banks' flooring nailer from Harbor Freight (was on sale for $120 over the weekend) and a Bosch laser distance measurer.

I'm still trying to decide on a moisture meter. Seems like there are tons of conflicting opinions out there on pin vs pinless meters. While I hadn't originally planed on spending $200+ on a meter, I may end up doing it just for the peace of mind.

My hardwood has also since been delivered. I vastly underestimated just how much floor space I would need to properly stack everything for acclimation. Still trying to figure out how I can get everything stacked appropriately without getting in my own way.


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 Post subject: Re: Planning DIY Hardwood Install
PostPosted: Wed Apr 03, 2019 7:38 am 
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Did you consider stacking the longer pieces using the shorter pieces as the spacers to allow good air flow?


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 Post subject: Re: Planning DIY Hardwood Install
PostPosted: Wed Apr 03, 2019 11:20 am 
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JIMMIEM wrote:
Did you consider stacking the longer pieces using the shorter pieces as the spacers to allow good air flow?

Yep -- this is what I ended up doing after realizing how much 1-by scrap material I would need to do it the traditional way. Just takes up a ton of floor space when you're planning to do most of the living areas.


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 Post subject: Re: Planning DIY Hardwood Install
PostPosted: Wed Apr 03, 2019 11:57 am 
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One thing I've been thinking about doing is flipping the orientation of the hardwood by 90º in the hallway. While I know that 5/8" plywood is not normally considered sufficient for this, the hallway is centered directly on top of the steel I-beam which runs directly down the center of the house and as a result the subfloor in the hallway is noticeably stiffer than anywhere else in the house.

It seems to me that if I did this hallway section as I've described here, that I'd then able to very easily break this project down into smaller independent sections as follows:

1. Guest Room 1 + Closet
2. Guest Room 2 + Closets
3. Master Bedroom + Linen Closet + MBR Transition (maybe also flipped 90º like the hallway?)
4. Living Room + Dining Room

I think Charles Petersen recommended this type of approach in his book as a way to both simplify the initial layout and also facilitate being able to refinish the floor in sections in the future. It should also help keep the hallway from ending up looking like a bowling alley! :lol:


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 Post subject: Re: Planning DIY Hardwood Install
PostPosted: Wed Apr 03, 2019 1:11 pm 
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Or you could do the hallway on a 45 degree angle.....but run this by the other residents first.
When you run the hallway boards perpendicular to the room boards it's a good idea to install the doorway threshold boards first to make sure everything is square and work from the doorway thresholds into the room(s). Also, when you do this you might end up doing what is called a 'net fit' if doorways line up from one side of the hall to the other. The 'net fit' is done when the hallway floor boards are bordered on both ends by the doorway thresholds. It's not hard to do but you may to 'sneak up' on a board's length to get a tight fit. Also, you will have to re-tongue or re-groove the end of one board in each row in the hallway. Again, not hard but it will take some extra time and the right tools will be helpful.....tongues and grooves can be done on a table saw but a router and miter saw are safer if you are working with long boards.


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 Post subject: Re: Planning DIY Hardwood Install
PostPosted: Wed Apr 03, 2019 7:37 pm 
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JIMMIEM wrote:
Or you could do the hallway on a 45 degree angle.....but run this by the other residents first.
When you run the hallway boards perpendicular to the room boards it's a good idea to install the doorway threshold boards first to make sure everything is square and work from the doorway thresholds into the room(s). Also, when you do this you might end up doing what is called a 'net fit' if doorways line up from one side of the hall to the other. The 'net fit' is done when the hallway floor boards are bordered on both ends by the doorway thresholds. It's not hard to do but you may to 'sneak up' on a board's length to get a tight fit. Also, you will have to re-tongue or re-groove the end of one board in each row in the hallway. Again, not hard but it will take some extra time and the right tools will be helpful.....tongues and grooves can be done on a table saw but a router and miter saw are safer if you are working with long boards.


Thanks again for the guidance. I hadn't considered that I would need to cut a new tongue (or groove) where the door thresholds overlap.

I couldn't help myself this afternoon and picked up a $10 moisture meter (actually $7 after coupon) from harbor freight. Just wanted to see if I could get relative readings between the subfloor and the wood that I've been acclimating. Unfortunately, I'm getting 0% readings from both the subfloor and the hardwood. I did get some fairly realistic readings from a stack of 2x4s that I've had sitting in the garage all winter (~7%). Guess this just reinforces my plan to pony up for a professional quality meter. Having now used a pin type meter, I'm fairly certain that a pinless meter makes more sense -- I had a really difficult time getting the pins deep enough into the maple flooring.


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 Post subject: Re: Planning DIY Hardwood Install
PostPosted: Thu Apr 04, 2019 12:54 am 
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You will not get an accurate reading from pin type meters unless the pins are fullly inserted into the sample. Drilling small holes for the pins to fit into will allow a more accurate reading.


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 Post subject: Re: Planning DIY Hardwood Install
PostPosted: Wed Apr 10, 2019 2:06 am 
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Even with getting the full depth of the pins inserted I'm still getting a reading of 0% on the cheap HF meter on all the floor samples I've tried.

Still haven't made a decision on what professional quality meter I will be purchasing, but in the mean time I did some experimenting with one of my HP 3478A multimeters which can measure up to 30MΩ. I'm using this US Forest Service document as a reference. All the samples I tested were out of the range of this multimeter, even when halving the distance between the probes from 1.25" to 0.75". This implies that the moisture content of the hardwood samples I tested is less than 8%.

Given the difference in the resistance of Sugar Maple vs Douglas Fir (assuming that's what the HF meter is calibrated for) in the reference sheet, it may be the case that it is simply unable to read a moisture content less than ~8% in maple. The instruction manual only claims to measure down to 6%, so this wouldn't be that surprising of an outcome if it is calibrated for DF.


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 Post subject: Re: Planning DIY Hardwood Install
PostPosted: Wed Apr 10, 2019 7:13 am 
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Did you check the moisture content range for your location in Charles Peterson's book? Where does your reading come in?


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 Post subject: Re: Planning DIY Hardwood Install
PostPosted: Wed Apr 10, 2019 7:40 am 
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The range given in the book for Pennsylvania is 7-10%. Hard to say if I'm at 7% or 6% or less, though.


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 Post subject: Re: Planning DIY Hardwood Install
PostPosted: Wed Apr 10, 2019 2:50 pm 
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A local installer was kind enough to loan me his Lignomat Mini Ligno for the day. I feel like I'm a little more informed now, but due to the type of meter I still don't have any exact measurements.

Measurement Photos

It's been 15 days now since the wood was originally delivered which is just a week or so after it was milled about ~130 miles north west of me. I do have history logs of the humidity in each of the room where the flooring was stacked (included in the measurement photos above) and here are the averages:

Living Room
Avg 35% RH
Sample #1: 6% (?)
Sample #9: 6% (?)

Master Bedroom
Avg 40% RH
Sample #3: 6%-8%
Sample #4: 6%-8%
Sample #5A: 10% -- mineral deposit causing density change?
Sample #5B: 6%
Sample #6: 8%
Sample #7: 8%
Sample #8: 6% (?)

Dining Room / Kitchen
Avg 36% RH
'Sample 1': original sample that's been in the house more than a month -- 8%
Sample #10: 6% (?)

Office
Avg 43% RH
Sample #2: 6% (?)


In general it seems to me like the wood must have been delivered very dry and the house being on the drier side for the past two weeks has lead to pretty slow acclimation. Any thoughts?


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